Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a total of 4,609 workers in the United States were killed on the job in 2011.
This is the first in a series of blogs published by our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys, which will look at this most recent data to see what can be learned about the risk to the U.S. workforce of serious or fatal injuries on the job.
The statistics reveal more than a dozen people are killed on the job every day in the United States — dozens more are seriously injured. The rate of fatal injury was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers — down just slightly from the 3.6 reported in 2010.
While such a preliminary review of the stats reveals apparent good news — closer inspection makes obvious where the declines occurred through the economic downturn. The typical employee should not expect to be safer on the job this year than last. In fact, the number of serious and fatal accidents is likely to increase as the economy continues to recover.
-Private construction accidents: Declined to 721 in 2011 — down about 50 deaths from 2010. These accidents have declined for 5 consecutive years and are down 42 percent since 2006, before the start of the recession.
-Mining industry accidents: Accidents in the private mining sector declined slightly, mostly due to the absence of high-profile disasters. Coal mining fatalities fell to 17 from the 43 deaths reported in 2010 — that’s the year the Upper Big Branch mine disaster claimed 29 lives, becoming the worst U.S. mining disaster in four decades.
-Trucking accidents: Fatal work accidents among private truckers rose 14 percent — no surprise as U.S. manufacturing continues to pick up and the nation struggles with a distracted-driving epidemic.
– Young workers at risk: The continued downsizing and workforce buyouts also had an impact — young workers were more likely to be injured in 2011. Injuries among those 20 to 24 increased 18 percent, while such accidents declined among workers over 55.
More than 150 work accidents in 2011 claimed more than one life. A total of 354 workers were killed in accidents that claimed multiple victims.
Over the next week, we will look at some of the reasons how and why those deaths occurred. Next up, transportation accidents account for nearly half of all fatal on-the-job injuries. By looking at common causes, as well as risk factors among select industries and occupations, we can better work toward the common goal of reducing the number of serious and fatal work accidents.
In all, nearly half (23) the nation’s states reported an increase in the number of fatal work accidents in 2011 — including Massachusetts, where 63 employees died on the job in 2011 compared to the 54 killed in 2010.
If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim– 1-888-367-2900.